Journalists and academics on the target of the AKP

Journalists and academics on the target of the AKP

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled for Turkey to be fined over a police raid on the office building of Nokta magazine upon a military court ruling in 2007 stating that the raid constituted a violation of freedom of expression.

This is not a surprise.

When looking at the court’s previous decisions on the freedom of expression and the right to be informed, it was obvious that it would come up with such sentence.

We will see a similar decision taken for Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, two journalists currently in prison.

By the same token, we can say a similar decision will be issued for the academics who are being subjected to a witch hunt after they signed a petition.

The ECHR’s decisions have been translated into Turkish and they are easily accessible by everybody.

You can find the Turkish translation of Gilles Dutertre’s book, which provides examples from ECHR’S decision, on the web site of our Constitutional Court.

It is impossible for the judges and prosecutors in Turkey to be unaware of these decisions.

Yet, as in the case of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, journalists can be arrested and remain in prison while their trial continues just because they have published news.

Academicians who have published a petition are being investigated by judges and probably legal cases will be opened.

There is no need to be curious why the Turkish justice system does that (knowing that ECHR will rule against it).

I am not curious because we know why all this is being done. They know that they cannot sentence them in the end. But they want to punish them and put society under the pressure of the dominant power. In Turkey, the judiciary has always been on the side of the powerful. But let’s not forget that there are still judges in Europe!

Freedom to express critical views

I have read about the evaluation of the prosecutor in Ankara about the petition that the academicians signed titled “We will not be a party to this crime.”

The investigation was initially based on the 6 and 7th article of the law on the fight against terror. Then they concluded that due to the previous changes made to these articles, it would not be proper to base the accusation on “propaganda of a terror organization.”

Then the office of the prosecutor decided to base the investigation over Article 301 of the penal code. 

Obviously it is not possible to know from today how the prosecutor’s view will be shaped. But it looks as if the prosecutor’s office feels it will not be of use to force the limits of the law.

The infamous Article 301 is about crimes over “humiliating Turkish nation, the Turkish Republic and the state’s organs and institutions.”

I do not know what they have found in the petition that made them believe that such a crime was committed.

But the same article 301 stipulates that the expression of one’s views to criticize is not a crime.
But the situation is exactly like that!

The state’s legitimacy

While the curfew continued in Cizre in the southeast, a group carrying the wounded came under fire and 12 persons were hurt.

Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Faysal Sarıyıldız said it was the police that opened fire on the group.

No country will let any armed groups to declare self-rule and dig ditches.

It is among the state’s priority to safeguard the locals from the harassment of armed groups and get rid of the barricades and cover the diches.

But states need to remain within the limits of legitimacy.

Obviously I am talking about democracies, as no such concern exists in countries ruled by dictators like Assad or Saddam. The state needs to respect human rights.

If indeed the police opened the fire, then they should be held responsible.

Otherwise that will only serve the interests of those that want to see Turkey divided.